A checklist of art, nature and, of course, wine!
Mendoza is a city full of rich culture and tragic history, and yet boasts an uncompromising resolve for reinvention that is clearly evident today. From overcoming two devastating earthquakes that rocked the city in the 18th and 19th centuries, to now being recognized as one of the world’s nine greatest wine capitals and gastronomical destinations—not to mention, the world-renowned Fiesta de la Vendimia (wine harvest festival) it hosts every March—this city has proven to be resilient, vibrant and modern in more ways than one. Here’s a checklist of top five places you need to see and experience in Mendoza!
1. Museo del Área Fundacional
This checklist begins with a trip back in time to visit Museo del Área Fundacional, a beautiful museum that offers an engaging and in-depth look at the history of the city. The museum was originally built to protect the city’s original cabildo (town council) that was decimated by the 1861 earthquake that struck the city. This spacious museum features fascinating exhibits and archeological artifacts, from the time of the earthquake to historical present day items. Admission is AR$27 (USD$1.50) per person.
2. Parque General San Martín
Located a mere two kilometers, or 1.24 miles, west of Mendoza is Parque General San Martín, the city’s spacious and lovely green space. Covering an area of 420-hectares, this forested park offers some of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city at Cerro de la Gloria (The Hill of Glory). It’s not recommended to venture here alone at night or bringing valuables as some robberies have been reported; though as a daytime experience, it’s still a worthwhile visit. From Plaza Independencia, take Bus 110 to arrive here.
3. Bodega La Rural
Of course, no visit to Mendoza can be complete without a stop at a winery! Bodega La Rural is a truly remarkable winery that’s located in a nearby small town called Maipú, some 17 kilometers, or 10.5 miles, from the city of Mendoza. This is the perfect daytrip for wine enthusiasts as the winery boasts an incredible museum displaying 19th century winemaking tools used by the town’s original settlers, plus remarkable religious sculptures dating back the town’s colonial period from the Cuyo region. Daily tours run every 30 minutes on weekdays and every hour on weekends, though it should be noted that tours in English are seldom. To arrive at the winery, catch a ride on Bus 173 from the bus stop located at La Rioja between Garibaldi and Catamarca streets.
4. Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno
Located underground at the beautiful Plaza Independencia, Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno is a wonderfully curated museum featuring contemporary and modern art exhibits. Museum enthusiasts will certainly appreciate the impressive array of art galleries on display, which makes it worthy of a full day’s visit. And don’t forget to check out the free concerts and theatrical performances every Sunday night at 8 p.m., which is a can’t-miss event. Admission is AR$23 (USD$1.30) per person.
5. Iglesia, Convento y Basílica de San Francisco
This checklist ends with one of the most important places in the city: Iglesia, Convento y Basílica de San Francisco. This church miraculously survived the 1968 earthquake, which was a source of great devastation for the city and its patrons. Local mendecinos (residents of Mendoza) often visit the church’s holy chamber located inside and leave notes of tribute to the victims of the earthquake. The church also has the unique distinction of housing the cremated remains of General San Martín’s daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. Their remains were brought from France to Mendoza in 1951 and put to rest in the church’s mausoleum where they reside today.